How to Win Friends and Influence People
There are few much more maligned books than this, I first heard about it in high school from a friend who used to joke about the sort of people who read books like it, so often indeed that it stuck in my mind. Well, wherever you are Jesse, I'm sorry but I became one of those people who read and enjoyed a book like this.
I can only think people dislike it because they baulk at the title and never actually read the book, which is at worst harmless and at best an example of how people should treat each other in a kinder more productive way. It is possible with most books of this kind to treat people a certain way because you want to manipulate them, but for my part, I don't always accurately communicate myself via my words and actions to other people, and reading a book like this helps me think about how I might better present my ideas and self to other people. After all it is our deeper themes, not the trite realities of presentation, that matter most in life.
The book is written from the perspective of those who would be leaders of people, and how to wield that power in such a way as you not only influence people, but you win friends at the same time. It is full of quaint stories and examples which illustrate the points well.
For example, the point of listening to all opinions is made by a too good to be true anecdote. A large group of men with all sorts of machinery trying to remove a truck which had gotten stuck under a bridge, a passing young girl mentioned that letting the tyres down might be a good idea, saving them many hours of trouble. Like Aesop's fables we are left with a clear moral, wisdom can come from unlikely places, and you should give everyone a fair hearing.
It has stories about many famous people, often American political leaders, and how they dealt with people and problems, showing by the example of some of the most successful people in history how we might do things differently in our own lives. Every person I have gotten to read this book has enjoyed it, most have loved it, some have even bought their own copies and one even bought me an extra lending copy he enjoyed it so much.
It is like having a conversation with a wise elderly person about how to get on in the world. Some people maybe don't need to read it, good luck to them but I got a lot from it and am perhaps a better person for its lessons.